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Benefactor Stories

Generosity focused

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

Generous heart has ‘room’ for giving

Darwin Bonn, St. Cloud, has been involved Bonnat St. Benedict’s Senior Community (SBSC) for so long that he’s not sure how it started. It might have been through a fundraiser. No matter what the genesis was, the end result has been decades of volunteering on committees and financial support.

He and his wife, Rosie, started several named funds for family members such as the Wayne & Hazel Bonn Memorial Fund. The fund helps to support life enrichment activities including the aviaries, aquariums and pet programs. They also created The Darwin and Rose Mary Bonn Fund to support the memory loss programs at SBSC.

Since Rosie became a resident due to memory loss, Darwin funded an endowment to create and support Rosie’s Garden as a testimony of his love for his high school sweetheart.

“My babe, Rosie, loved people, cooking, card playing, movies, sewing, fishing and snowmobiling,” Darwin said. “But most of all, she loved her husband, children and extended family. Her church was a really important part of her life. She was one of a kind.”

After Rosie passed away in 2010, Darwin became a “Friendly Visitor” volunteer at SBSC. He also keeps himself busy by volunteering at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. Recently, Darwin decided to give another tribute to Rosie at SBSC.

The St. Cloud campus’ largest gathering place, Woodland Hall, gives residents a place to sing, dance, play games, create art, mingle and celebrate special occasions with family and friends. But the original 1978 décor is nothing to sing about. Woodland Hall will be remodeled this fall and renamed the Bonn Great Room in honor of a generous gift by Darwin.

Darwin remembers fondly when he and Rosie used to take her aunt, Marie, to Woodland Hall to dance to concertina music. He hopes that a renovated Woodland Hall will encourage families to get involved with events at SBSC.

“Darwin is such a role model for our community,” said CentraCare Health President Terry Pladson, MD. “His gift will impact all of the residents at St. Benedict’s and many more in the future.”

Giving is a family tradition

Since 1881, with four generations of family-owned banking, American Heritage National Bank has the honor and tradition of proudly supporting its communities. This family heritage of generous support continues today with Jay Johnston, CEO and president of American Heritage National Bank, and his father, Rodger Johnston, chairman of the board. Their generous gift to CentraCare Health ensures the highest quality of health care in Central Minnesota with the renovation of the two existing birthing suites and the addition of a third birthing suite at CentraCare Health – Long Prairie and a new birthing suite at St. Cloud Hospital.

“Our family bank tradition of giving back to our local community began with my great-grandfather, Henry Schroeder, who was a founding member of the board that established the first hospital in Long Prairie,” Jay said. “He knew the intrinsic value of ensuring the best available health care to our community back then and that importance continues today.”

American Heritage National Bank serves Central Minnesota with four banking locations, two in St. Cloud (also known as the Log Banks), Long Prairie and Browerville, and online at www.LogBank.com.

Generous benefactors make gift to Clara’s House

WeitzelsAt any given time, nearly 60 kids living in Central Minnesota are in desperate need of help to manage their behavioral health or chemical dependency issues. To meet the increasing demands, Clara’s House is expanding, thanks to generous gifts from people such as John and Mary Weitzel of St. Cloud.

John and Mary’s gift will support the new middle school wing at Clara’s House in remembrance of their granddaughter, Felicity, who died in a swimming pool accident at age 4. She was a casualty of another person’s undiagnosed and untreated mental illness.

“Having programs available for children with behavioral and chemical dependency issues are so important,” Mary said. “If children are diagnosed and receive intervention early, it can make a substantial difference in their lives. Programs that are available at Clara’s House ensure this will happen.”

“We are proud to donate to this worthwhile project that will help children learn healthy behaviors and live happy, productive lives,” John said.“These programs can help save lives.”

Clara’s House, an outpatient program of St. Cloud Hospital Behavioral Health Services, is a place devoted to providing specialized treatment for youth ages 5 to 18. Each year, more than 300 youth find hope and healing at Clara’s House.

The expansion will add 9,000 square feet to the existing 14,000 to accommodate more youth in the child, middle school and adolescent programs. Funding for the expansion was provided by generous benefactors, with more than $1.9 million being raised. The final project will cost $2.2 million and construction is anticipated to be complete this summer.

Family-owned business makes a difference

In Central Minnesota, chicken means Gold’n Plump® (GNP). It’s more than an icon. Since 1936 when it started in St. Cloud, this family-owned business grew from selling day-old chicks to a fully integrated provider of premium quality chicken products.

GNP cares about the high quality of its products. The company also cares about the welfare of its team members, families and growers in Central Minnesota by ensuring the best quality health care.

GNP and the Helgeson family have invested in making the future better with their support of the CentraCare Health Foundation’s Caring for Generations Campaign. “GNP Company has a long-standing commitment to helping the communities where we live and work,” said Don Helgeson, GNP Chairman of the Board and former chief executive officer.

“We feel fortunate to have such an outstanding medical care system, like CentraCare, that’s easily accessible to us in Central Minnesota,” said Mike Helgeson, chief executive officer. “The recent expansion of St. Cloud Hospital is going to further benefit area families, including those of our own team members and growers. We’re pleased to be a part of it.”

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